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Do you know the 5 Most Common Youth Injuries in Youth Athletics?

4 Risk Factors for Tommy John Ligament Surgery in Youth Pitchers

At COR Physical Therapy in Santa Clara, we have a wide range of individuals who seek treatment from injuries. A commonality has been young athletes with overuse youth injuries. As we all know young children are always moving around and having fun. They do sometimes get over excited and hurt themselves. It’s important to be conscious of the possible youth injuries they might experience. There are factors that contribute to injury like age and history of chronic pain. This article will explain 5 most common youth injuries in youth athletics who sought treatment in our facility.

5 Most Common Youth Injuries at COR

Gymnast’s wrist/distal radius epiphysiolysis

Gymnasts, divers, and other athletes loading the write and hand are at risk for distal radius epiphysiolysis. Discomfort around the wrist and pain with activating the muscles around wrist is common in the examination of a case of radius epiphysiolysis. An X-Ray is not needed to diagnose, but it can help see if there was any severe damage to the wrist. Prolonged stress on injury without proper recovery will further damage the ligaments.

Absolute rest and no weight bearing on wrists and any other vigorous activities. Physical therapy will explain the biomechanics of the movement of the injury and will help plan for recovery. Depending on the case of the patient’s injury is will determine the time it takes for the injury to heal. Some may take weeks while others could take months.

Osgood- Schlatter disease

OSD is most common in adolescents because of how fast their bones develop. This means the femur bone grows faster than the quadriceps muscles. While the quadriceps muscles are trying to attach at the end of the femur. Inflammation occurs at the tibial tuberosity (below the knee) at patellar tendon. Having a painful bump on their anterior knee is a hallmark sign of OSD. The pain increases during running, jumping, or bending the knee.

Managing the symptoms is key to the road of recovery. Some methods used to reduce pain such as using a knee support/ immobilizer and at COR we use taping for this purpose. Removing the overactive muscles pulling on the patellar tendon is essential for pain resolution. Physical therapy is beneficial because it will help start the recovery. OSD has a variety of courses depending on the athlete and the athletic activity/schedule.

Anterior knee pain

Anterior knee pain (AKP) can affect any age, but is most common in adolescents. AKP is a chronic overload of anterior knee tissues and the amount of load in the knee will depend on many factors. Most common for runners, or any activity putting load on the front of the knee. Pain can still continue to present even for walking, stairs and even sitting. Most athletes will have trouble locating the pain and will most likely grab the front of their knee. When the injured knee will affect the rest of the lower extremities. The other muscles would have to compensate to help keep the rest of the body function.

Rest, physical therapy, and neuromuscular re-education fitted for each athlete’s condition. The most productive physical therapy techniques are pelvic, hip, and core stabilization, quadriceps strengthening. Resolving pain is also crucial and can occur with manual therapy or myofascial releases.

The links below show the each exercise.


Shin Splints

Shin splints come from any activity related to the medial aspect of the tibia. Any activity that causes the athlete to stop and start frequently. Such as playing basketball, tennis, and soccer. Shin splints are pain in the shins, lower legs and it is an inflammatory condition. There are various indications of what this type of injury is causing the pain. Some clinicians call it medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) or tibial stress syndrome. The wide range of nomenclature puts up a debate over the exact diagnosis of this overuse symptom. A physical examination is useful to identify any risk factors contributing to pain. X-Rays are normal in MTSS and are usually taken for a stress fracture. An MRI will show any serious conditions of stress injury.

Treatment of Shin splints will vary depending on the severity of the injury. There is no method that is more effective than the other. Some athletes will lower the frequency of training while others will need more time to rest. Immobilization of the extremity may occur to heal muscle tissue. Treatment for a stress fracture will depend on the location of the fracture. In severe conditions, some treatments are up to 2 – 4 months and the athlete would use crutches. The athlete can resume activity as long as they are pain-free. Physical therapy will explain the biomechanics of the movement with injury. A physical therapist can also provide self myofascial release SMR to the shin, and provide exercises to strengthen the foot.

Shoulder Tendonitis

Typically, the cause of the pain of this injury is from inflamed tendons around the rotator cuff. Shoulder Tendinitis is a repeated or overuse injury caused by poor posture and muscle imbalances around the shoulder. Most common for baseball players, swimmers, tennis players, and golfers because of the technique their sport. Improper form in any sport will cause an overload on muscle tissues and tendons.

The athlete should rest from vigorous activities, if the tendonitis is severe. The physical therapist will first remove the pain, through manual therapy, exercise, or biomechanical modification. Once the pain improves, the physical therapist will design a therapeutic plan to improve the posture of shoulder and strengthen involved muscles.

Written by Elise Alcomendras, COR intern